At the Mariott Hotel in Denver, Colorado, an Author/Teacher's conference was held there.
At the Mariott Hotel in Denver, Colorado, an Author/Teacher's conference was held there. Over 30 authors gave presentations about English and literacy, and while there I got to interview author Laurence Yep!
Here are some quotes from this wonderful role model:
"I grew up in an African-American neighborhood and went to school in Chinatown. So I actually really didn't run into white culture until I was a teenager in high school. The school I went to in Chinatown was run by nuns, but we had an hour of Chinese language lessons a day. My parents didn't speak Chinese at home so I really didn't have that basic language. I really belonged in the first grade language lessons, but I was in a type of third grade class. My teacher used simple words, but I didn't even know those. Luckily, I had a good memory so I got straight A's. But I didn't learn Chinese until much later in my life. I still really can't speak it, but I can slowly read it."
"When I graduated from high school, I graduated with a science award, no writing ones. But, in my senior year in high school, I had an English teacher who said that if I wanted to get an A in his class, I would have to get something accepted by a national magazine. I didn't want to argue with him, so I wound up setting up a story and getting rejected, so he retracted the threat. Once I had received the rejection letter, I could prove that I had actually tried. I definitely learned from this experience that a rejection letter will leave you depressed for 2 weeks, but it won't kill you. So I kept writing stories and finally went back to my roots, which was science-fiction, and I wrote a story about a time in San Francisco when it had sunk underneath the ocean. I sold that story when I was 18, so actually I got my start as a science-fiction writer. I've even done a Star-Trek book."
"I like walking by the ocean and making jewelry because my wife, Joanne Ryder, makes and sells jewelry. We actually met in journalism in college and became good friends. There was another student, Gale Gleason, who introduced us and is now an editor. She was our matchmaker. Joanne and I were very good friends for a long time."
"I believe that good writing comes from bringing out the specialness in ordinary things. For instance, I used to teach creative writing at the University of California Berkley, and I focused on teaching my students to make it real for the reader by including small details about every day objects. Then, you start applying this skill to your own memories."
"Write about family experiences. They could become great stories someday. Also, pay attention to the world around you. People's actions and scenery come in handy a lot of the time. Remember perseverance and ordinary things made special, too."
Clearly, Laurence Yep is a great guy who believes that writing is super important!